Adaptive headlights for driving safety.

Cornering: Kia’s Adaptive Front Lighting System lights adjust as your steering angle changes, helping you take corners with more confidence.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is adding a new headlights test that cars will need to pass in order to receive the institute’s highest safety rating — Top Safety Pick Plus — as Ryan Beene and David Sedgwick wrote recently in  Automotive News. David Zuby, IIHS’s chief researcher, told AN that the Institute is in the process of creating a stand-alone ratings program for headlights.

The IIHS hopes to announce the first group of headlight test results next year. And if all goes according to plan, a vehicle will need to get a high rating on that test (in addition to other tests) in order to garner a Top Safety Plus rating. That step could take place by 2017 (IIHS explains its 2015 ratings system here.)

Adaptive Headlights More Widely Available

As MotorTrend writes, IIHS hopes adaptive headlights eventually will become a standard features on all new cars. This technology (available on some Porsche, Audi, Hyundai, and other vehicles) uses sensors, cameras, and motors to help the headlight focus its beams towards corners or dips in the road. Although adaptive headlights have been available as an option on luxury cars, these technically sophisticated headlights are appearing on more mainstream models. According to Edmunds, of the 123 vehicle models that offered adaptive headlights for their 2015 models, 98 were luxury vehicles, and only 25 were not luxury vehicles. 

Zuby told AN that some automakers are considering accelerating their plans to include adaptive headlights:

We’ve studied all of these different innovations to the extent we’re able, and the strongest signal we get back from the data is that the steerable headlights are associated with the largest reductions of crashes reported to insurers.

Reduced Liability Claims

The Highway Loss Data Institute, IIHS’s data research component, studied insurance claims and found as much as a 10% reduction in property damage liability claims in car accidents involving Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo vehicles that were equipped with adaptive headlights, as compared with vehicles with fixed-beam headlights, AN reports.

Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning at Kia Motors America, told Automotive News that verybody is racing to add this technology to their cars. He said that IIHS is “upping the ante,” which puts a lot of pressure on automakers to “chase a moving target.” 

Headlight Innovations

Other innovations include a headlight’s ability to automatically dim when it senses an approaching vehicle. In in September 2014, this blog wrote about smart high-beam headlights that brighten up the road for drivers without blinding oncoming vehicles. 

AN writes:

The systems have evolved in recent years. In earlier systems, a headlight’s control unit calculated the road’s curvature by analyzing the vehicle’s speed, steering angle and yaw rate. Later, automakers added forward-facing cameras to detect a road’s twists and turns.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is adding a new headlights test that cars will need to do well on in order to receive the institute’s highest safety rating — Top Safety Pick Plus — as Ryan Beene and David Sedgwick wrote recently in  Automotive News. David Zuby, IIHS’s chief researcher, told AN that the Institute is in the process of creating a stand-alone ratings program for headlights.

The IIHS hopes to announce the first group of headlight test results next year. And if all goes according to plan, a vehicle will need to get a high rating on that test (in addition to other tests) in order to garner a Top Safety Plus rating. That step could take place by 2017 (IIHS explains its 2015 ratings system here.)

Adaptive Headlights More Widely Available

As MotorTrend writes, IIHS hopes adaptive headlights eventually will become a standard features on all new cars. This technology (available on some Porsche, Audi, Hyundai, and other vehicles) uses sensors, cameras, and motors to help the headlight focus its beams towards corners or dips in the road. Although adaptive headlights have been available as an option on luxury cars, these technically sophisticated headlights are appearing on more mainstream models. According to Edmunds, of the 123 vehicle models that offered adaptive headlights for their 2015 models, 98 were luxury vehicles, and only 25 were not luxury vehicles.

Zuby told AN that some automakers are considering accelerating their plans to include adaptive headlights:

We’ve studied all of these different innovations to the extent we’re able, and the strongest signal we get back from the data is that the steerable headlights are associated with the largest reductions of crashes reported to insurers.

Reduced Liability Claims

The Highway Loss Data Institute, IIHS’s data research component, studied insurance claims and found as much as a 10% reduction in property damage liability claims in accidents involving Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo vehicles that were equipped with adaptive headlights, as compared with vehicles with fixed-beam headlights, AN reports.

Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning at Kia Motors America, told Automotive News that verybody is racing to add this technology to their cars. He said that IIHS is “upping the ante,” which puts a lot of pressure on automakers to “chase a moving target.”

Headlight Innovations

Other innovations include a headlight’s ability to automatically dim when it senses an approaching vehicle. In in September 2014, this blog wrote about smart high-beam headlights that brighten up the road for drivers without blinding oncoming vehicles.

AN writes:

The systems have evolved in recent years. In earlier systems, a headlight’s control unit calculated the road’s curvature by analyzing the vehicle’s speed, steering angle and yaw rate. Later, automakers added forward-facing cameras to detect a road’s twists and turns.

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